The NBA isn’t the only professional sports action that will take place on Christmas Day this year. The Minnesota Vikings will travel to New Orleans for a 4:30 PM matchup against the Saints on Friday. The Vikings came in 2020 with high expectations, but they were never able to find their winning rhythm. The team is 6-8 which puts them on the Wild Card bubble. They would need a lot to go their way in order to sneak into the postseason.
The Saints have been one of the league’s best franchises in 2020. They were in line for the #1 seed in the NFC playoff race, but the Saints have dropped their past two contests. New Orleans is now 10-4, but they need a victory on Friday with the Buccaneers sitting right behind them in the AFC South at 9-5.
The Saints (-300) will be a 6.5-point home favorite on Friday over the Vikings (+245). The over/under for this Christmas Day football battle has been set at 51 points.
A Year of Disappointment
Minnesota hasn’t been able to win more than three games in a row all season long. The Vikings have been in tight contests, but they aren’t a very good second-half team. Minnesota’s inability to put teams away, countless turnovers, and defensive breakdowns have all contributed to their lackluster season.
Despite this, there have been some bright spots for the Vikings in 2020. The offense has had some breakout outings, but the team hasn’t been able to put all three phases together consistently throughout the year.
The Vikings are poised for some great upcoming seasons with the young talent on their roster. Rookie WR, Justin Jefferson, has been very tough for opposing defenses to defend in 2020. Jefferson is on the verge of breaking many of the NFL’s rookie receiving records. In addition to Jefferson’s phenomenal campaign, veterans like Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen have also made a big impact in Minnesota.
The Saints Haven’t Been Marching as of Late
The Saints were on a nine-game win streak that spanned over the course of two and a half months. The team was unstoppable. Drew Brees went down with broken ribs in Week 10 and backup QB, Taysom Hill, still led the Saints to a 3-1 record. This team has talent all over the field.
The Saints were stunned by the Eagles two weeks ago and then lost a heartbreaker to the Chiefs in their last outing. I’m going to put these two losses on the New Orleans’ offense. They haven’t been efficient in their two-game losing streak which isn’t a recipe for winning football in December.
Against the Chiefs, the Saints were 1 for 11 on third down and only racked up 252 yards of offense. It’s nearly impossible to take down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs with these offensive numbers.
Drew Brees will make his second start since his injury on Christmas so he should feel more comfortable in the pocket. The Saints need a win on Friday. They can’t count on the Buccaneers losing in order to claim the NFC South Championship.
Christmas Day Football – The Matchup
The Saints have looked off in their past two games. They haven’t done the little things necessary to win that you’d expect from a team coached by Sean Payton. I don’t think Minnesota could have a better week than this to face the Saints who are coming off two consecutive losses. Minnesota has nothing to lose and that makes them a very dangerous team.
Kirk Cousins is averaging just under one interception per game, but the veteran never stops taking chances. Interceptions don’t phase Kirk Cousins when it comes to his ability to bounce back. However, if the Vikings want to upset the Saints, Cousins will need to take care of the football.
Defensively, the team will need to contain Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. If the Vikings take away Brees’ primary receiver and frequent safety valve, they’ll have a chance to win. Although, I don’t believe Minnesota will have the capacity to get this done consistently over the course of 60 minutes.
The Vikings will start fast, but the Saints will come alive in the second half. This game is going to be a shootout. New Orleans will put up a lot of points, so expect Mike Zimmer to break out the downfield passing game very early to stay competitive. These teams are a combined 18-9-1 against the over so this tells me that the Superdome scoreboard operator will be busy on Christmas Day.
Christmas Day Football – The Picks
The Saints have covered -6.5 in 50% of their wins this season. I love them moneyline, but I don’t feel confident that they’ll cover against Minnesota. Are the Saints a better team? Yes. Do the Vikings have the ability to play New Orleans tight? Yes.
This is especially true after what we have seen from the Saints the past two weeks. As far as the total amount of points, this game is going over. We will see a Christmas Day shootout inside the Superdome on Friday afternoon.
I’m taking New Orleans ML and over 51 points.
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